|This image of dead American infantrymen who fell at Agua Preita in Mexico is part of the Beinecke Library's collection of photos related to U.S. military involvement in the Mexican Revolution.
The relationship between photography, history and memory examined in student
In her essay “On Photography,” writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag
writes, “A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given
thing happened. The picture may distort; but there is always a presumption
that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the picture.”
The relationship between image, history and memory will be explored at a graduate
student conference titled “Photographic Proofs,” to be held Friday-Saturday,
April 4-5, at Yale.
The event is a joint effort between the Photographic Memory Workshop and the
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Established nine years ago, the
workshop brings together faculty, students and staff in an effort to foster
cross-disciplinary conversation about the relationship between photography
and individual and collective memory.
The conference will include an archival workshop, opening and closing keynote
addresses and four faculty-moderated graduate student panels. The speakers
represent a range of disciplines — from African-American and American
studies, to art, English, history, theater and performance studies, the history
of art, urban studies, and women’s, gender and sexuality studies — and
hail from across the United States and the world.
The keynote speakers will be Professor John Tagg of Binghampton University,
who will present a talk titled “File Photos: Documents, Terror, Truth
and Style” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday; and Marion Belanger, a professional
photographer, who will present “Outside and Within: Boundary, Border,
Edge” at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Both talks will take place in Rm. 101 of
Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St.
The conference will include four panels on Saturday: “Memory, Postmemory,
Countermemory,” “Biopolitics of Images,” “Urban Place
and Space” and “Photography/Performance.” A Friday workshop titled “Tactics in Evidence” is
already closed to registration, but those interested in attending the other
conference activities can find a complete schedule and registration information
In addition to funding from the Beinecke Library and the Photographic Memory
Workshop, the conference has received support from the African American Studies
Program; the American Studies Program; the Andrews Society; the Graduate School
Dean’s Fund for Student-Organized Symposia; the Department of the History
of Art; the Public Humanities Initiative; the Yale School of Art; the Whitney Humanities Center; the Women’s,
Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; the World Performance Project; and the
Yale University Art Gallery.
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